Live after Rick

Rachel Watts sees Status Quo’s latest evolution.

Status Quo,
The Last Night of the Electrics,
Barclaycard Arena,
16th December

Veteran rockers Status Quo were once again at the Barclaycard Arena, as part of their annual winter UK tour.
Announced as the last tour where they would play an electric set, future gigs will be the more sedate acoustic version. Following a near-fatal heart attack in June 2016, guitarist and singer Rick Parfitt is currently being replaced by Irish guitarist, Ritchie Malone.

While there are some who would say that the tour should have been cancelled, that it is simply not Quo without Parfitt, the Arena was packed with fans eager for what could be, potentially, their last Quo gig.

Any doubts about Ritchie’s ability to fill the gap left by Parfitt were soon put to rest. From the moment the band were rapturously welcomed onto stage, to the familiar opening of Caroline, Ritchie appeared relaxed, confident, and more than capable of reproducing the familiar Quo sound.

Parfitt’s vocal’s were covered more than ably between bassist John ‘Rhino’ Edwards and keyboard player Andy Bown, with frontman Francis Rossi his usual chatty self between songs. Rossi himself has said that bringing Malone into the band has brought a new lease of life, and while they played a set that has not changed much in recent years, the band certainly played with a renewed sense of energy.

With both Edwards and Bown being more involved in the vocals and performance, and Bown being equally as comfortable front of stage playing guitar, it did make you feel like there was something new and fresh to watch.
Yes, of course Rick was missed, and perhaps they should have taken the opportunity to adapt the set – Creeping up on You is a classic Parfitt track that could have been replaced (along with Rossi’s The Oriental!); whereas it simply wouldn’t be a Quo gig without Whatever You Want.

The highlight of the evening, for me, is always the solo from drummer Leon Caveman, which seems to just get better each time, leading into Roll Over Lay Down.

With the band performing so well with Malone, it is not surprising that they have now released further electric dates in Europe, well into 2017, alongside the Aquostic set. Tour dates can be found on the band’s website.